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Subject: Storage | October 2, 2013 - 10:42 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, My Cloud, cloud storage, cloud
Imagine a device of a similar form factor to the Western Digital My Book, but instead of USB or Thunderbolt connectivity, you had a Gigabit Ethernet connection and a dual core CPU capable of handling large throughputs to your home network. Toss in some back end software and a handfull of remote access apps for various mobile devices, and you have what Western Digital calls the My Cloud:
The concept behind this is to have something similar to DropBox, with some differences. We will be diving further into the My Cloud shortly and will publish a full write-up for your viewing pleasure, but for now it seems to cover every base except for having your shared data available on mobile devices when those devices are offline (with the exception of cached copies, of course).
Full press blast afer the break:
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | October 2, 2013 - 09:03 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, linux
Last week, NVIDIA published documentation for Nouveau to heal wounds with the open source community. AMD had a better reputation and intends to maintain it. On Tuesday, Alex Deucher published 9 PDF documents, 1178 pages of register and acceleration documentation along with 18 pages of HDA GPU audio programming details, compared to the 42 pages NVIDIA published.
Sure, a page to page comparison is meaningless, but it is clear AMD did not want to be outdone. This is especially true when you consider that some of these documents date back to early 2009. Still, reactionary or not, the open source community should accept the assistance with open arms... and open x86s?
I should note that these documents do not cover Volcanic Islands; they are for everything between Evergreen and Sea Islands.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 2, 2013 - 03:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Silverstone, Argon AR01
Silverstone's new Argon AR01 is the first heatsink tested on FrostyTech's new 200W test platform which will put more stress on it than you would ever encounter in a PC. It is quite thin compared to some heatsinks on the market, at 159x124x77mm and 420g it should fit inside of most systems unlike some other high end air coolers. SilverStone chose to use unique plastic tabs to mount the fan which FrostyTech were not overly impressed by as they felt that wire mounts would not create the possibility of them coming lose over time. Check out their full review to see how well it cools.
"We're throwing the new 200W Frostytech Mrk.III Intel LGA2011 test platform thermal test platform into the mix today! Silverstone's Argon AR01 is constructed around three beefy 8mm diameter copper heatpipes which are exposed at the base of the cooler. Putting the heatpipes in direct contact with the top of the processor makes for a very thermally efficient path with a minimum of thermal joint resistance."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Cooler Master V8 GTS CPU Cooler Review @HiTech Legion
- Gamer Storm Lucifer CPU Cooler @ Kitguru
- be quiet! Shadow Rock 2 @ techPowerUp
- Zalman Reserator 3 MAX Nanofluid AIO Liquid CPU Cooler @ Benchmark Reviews
- Noctua 120mm NF-S12A (ULN, FLX, PWM) Fan @ Overclockers Club
- Thermaltake Chaser A31 @ LanOC Reviews
- Spire X2 6018 Chassis @ Funky Kit
- Corsair Carbide 330R Review @ OCC
- Corsair Obsidian Series 750D Full Tower @ [H]ard|OCP
- Corsair Obsidian 750D Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Corsair Obsidian Series 350D @ LanOC Reviews
- Silverstone Fortress FT04 Review: Improving the Formula? @ Techspot
- Aerocool Strike-X Xtreme Black Edition Case @ Kitguru
- Cooler Master N600 (NSE-600-KKN1) Mid-Tower Case Review @HiTech Legion
- Lian Li PC-D8000 @ techPowerUp
- Phanteks Enthoo Primo Case Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 Case @ Kitguru
- Fractal Design Node 304 White SFF Chassis Review @MissingRemote
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | October 2, 2013 - 02:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, ARMA III
Forget Crysis, if you want to hammer your PC pick up ARMA III and try turning up the settings! Even an i7-3770K @ 4.8GHz and GTX 780's in SLI struggle to render this game with all the graphical bells and whistles turned on. The close up landscapes and objects are gorgeous with high quality textures but to truly get into the feel of the game you need to be able to turn up the veiw distance and number of displayed objects as you can see from [H]ard|OCP's screenshots below. [H] spent ia bit of time breaking down the best playable settings for numerous GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD as well as showing you the impact that MSAA and PPAA has on the visual quality as well as your PCs performance. If you want to show off the superiority of a high end gaming machine then this is the game for you.
"ARMA III is our focus point for today. It features a large open world environment designed on a massive continent measuring 270 square kilometers. To go along side this massive continent is a max visibility range of 20km. Combine this with ARMA III's impressive looking graphics and we have a game that demands performance."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- What Does It Meaaaaan: Half-Life 3 Trademarked @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- See CDP Explain The Mad Scope Of The Witcher 3 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- GTA 5 Online goes live @ The Inquirer
- AMD spent as much as $8 million on EA/DICE Battlefield 4 deal @ HEXUS
- Co-op Sandbox FTL? – PULSAR Is The Most Exciting Game @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- EA SPORTS Madden NFL 25 @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: General Tech | October 2, 2013 - 01:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: IBM, fusion-io, PCIe SSD, enterprise
IBM's F825, F1650, and F3200 Enterprise Value PCIe SSD cards will use Fusion-IO's architecture to provide their servers with a storage speed boost. Available for order as of the 22nd of this month you will be able to order these cards in sizes up to 3.2TB. One caveat mentioned at The Register is the terms of the warranty, it is only good for 1 year or the rated number of program/erase cycles, whichever comes first. High speed storage will be attractive to enterprise purchasers but having to replace the cards every year may cool their enthusiasm quite a bit.
"IBM's announcement is here, and says the Fusion-io cards are available for System x and BladeCenter servers. Users get from 825GB to 3.2TB of MLC flash per PCIe slot to accelerate apps in these servers, which no longer have to wait at the data access bus-stop for disk drive latency to send the heads to the right tracks."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Big data: You've got to spend a dollar ... to make fifty-two cents – report @ The Register
- Powerchip 30nm DRAM production hit by low yield rates @ DigiTimes
- Steam Controller: Open and Hackable? @ Hack a Day
Subject: General Tech | October 2, 2013 - 01:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
With an aluminium shell just under 1" thick, just deep enough to accommodate a DVD burner, the Dell Latitude 14 E3440 is stylish and easy to carry around. Inside is a Core i3-4010U @ 1.7GHz, 4GB RAM and a 500GB Hard Drive running Windows 7 Professional. You can upgrade to an i5-4200U for an extra $130, there is no SSD option but that doesn't mean you can't put your own in there.
- Dell Latitude 14 3000 Series 4th-gen Core i3 Laptop for $589.00 with free shipping(normally $841.43).
- Toshiba Satellite L70-ABT2N22 17.3" Core i3 Laptop (Customizable) for $499.99 (normally $729.99).
- Seagate Backup Plus 2TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive for Mac for $84.95 with free shipping(normally $129.99).
- Dell 8X External USB Optical DVD+/-RW Drive for $59.99 with free shipping(normally $79.00).
- Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 for $86.24 only (normally $99.99)
- Batman or Superman iPhone 5 Case and Earbuds for $11.99 with free shipping.(normally $27.99)
Subject: General Tech | October 2, 2013 - 02:08 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: SOMA, Frictional Games
In all seriousness, Frictional Games was probably looking around the SCP archives for inspiration. The next project from the company which brought us Amnesia and Penumbra has a redacted engineering document and a bit of Kanji in its user interface elements.
For the record, I tried looking up the symbols and I was not successful. I cannot even tell whether this is Japanese or Chinese Kanji.
Regardless, the website suggests many more reveals are on the way. The first teaser, Vivarium, shows a woman using a creepy computer while talking to someone through an earpiece. Thankfully, it is not a jump scare video (or really scary at all) but it does have a bit of NSFW language.
Still no information on when the game (which may or may not be named, "SOMA") will be released. Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, developed by The Chinese Room, was just released less than a month ago.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 1, 2013 - 06:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: air cooling, fans, corsair, AF120 LED, Air Series AF140 LED, Quiet Edition
Fremont, California — October 1, 2013 — Corsair, a worldwide designer and supplier of high-performance components to the PC hardware market, today announced the immediate availability of the Air SeriesTM AF120 LED Quiet Edition and Air Series AF140 LED Quiet Edition high airflow PC case fans. The new fans are the only LED fans to use Corsair’s award-winning AF series impeller designs to produce higher airflow at lower noise levels. The Air Series LED fans are available in 120mm and 140mm sizes with red, white, blue, or purple LED lighting.
The Air Series LED Quiet Edition high airflow PC case fans are designed with custom-molded, ultra-thin, clear frosted blades with a sleeved bearing system and four vivid LEDs. The result is a visually striking fan which helps users build great looking PCs while delivering outstanding cooling with exceptionally low vibration, noise and turbulence. The fans are ideal for mounting at the rear or top of PC cases to exhaust heat from a PC’s CPU, graphics accelerators, and other heat generating components. The Air Series LED fans work equally well as unrestricted intake fans for areas like side panels or bottom intakes.
“Users often feel they are sacrificing quality when using LED fans,” said Xavier Lauwaert, Director of Product Marketing at Corsair. “Our new Air Series LED fans combine the proven low-noise, high-performance design of our standard Air Series fans with just the right amount of LED visual flair. Now users can enhance and customize the look of their PCs with LED fans without compromising performance.”
Air Series Specifications
Pricing, Availability, and Warranty
The Air Series LED high airflow PC case fans are available immediately from Corsair's worldwide network of authorized distributors and resellers. They are backed with a limited 2-year warranty and Corsair’s excellent customer service and technical support.
Models and suggested prices are as follows:
Subject: Processors | October 1, 2013 - 02:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, atom, Bay Trail, Z3000, silvermont
Silvermont has a lot of work cut out for it to get out from the shadow of its poorly performing predecessors. The new Z3000 is much more than just a low powered chip, it is Intel's first SoC aimed at taking market share from ARM. It has been out for almost a month now and so it is worth rounding up a few of the reviews to remind you of Intel's plans in the low powered mobile market as well as the new modular server market. The Tech Report benchmarked this chip running both Win8.1 and Android OSes against a variety of products powered by ARM, Snapdragon and Tegra as well as against a Core-i3 and an A4-5000 from AMD. Check out the results in their full review.
"Intel has just pulled back the curtain on the Atom Z3000 series, based on the "Bay Trail" SoC. Equipped with the potent new "Silvermont" CPU architecture, this chip is intended to challenge ARM for supremacy in tablets and convertibles. We have a first look at its architecture and performance."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Intel Atom Z3770 Bay Trail tablet review: Intels new tablet chip tested with Windows 8.1 and Android 4.2 @ Hardware.info
- Intel Atom Processor Z3770 Bay Trail First Look and Performance Testing @ Legit Reviews
- Overclocking The Ivy Bridge Extreme Core i7 4930K @ Ninjalane
- Intel Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition Review @ Techgage
- Intel Z87 and Haswell 24/7 OC Guide @ techPowerUp
- Intel i7-4930K & i7-4820K Ivy Bridge-E Review @ Hardware Canucks
- ntel Core i7 4960X Extreme Edition @ eTeknix
- Intel Ivy Bridge-E 4960X CPU Review (LN2 inside) @ Madshrimps
- Intel Core i7-4960X Ivy Bridge-E Processor Review @ Legit Reviews
- Intel Iris Pro 5200 graphics review: the end of mid-range GPUs @ Hardware.info
- Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 review: Ivy Bridge-EP for servers @ Hardware.info
- Xeon E5-2600 v2 series brings Ivy Bridge-EP to servers, workstations @ The Tech Report
Subject: General Tech | October 1, 2013 - 01:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, azure, cloud, DoD, secure
Microsoft just picked up a big win in their battle against IBM and Amazon for a share of the Cloud now that the US Government has certified them as being secure. This is their first such certification which opens up a very large market for them and will make them more attractive to private firms as well. While most salespeople will tell you that the only thing that matters about the cloud is high availability, IT departments are far more concerned about security. High availability is assumed, if that is the only sales pitch a cloud provider gives you then you should probably stay away from them, your clients will be much happier knowing their proprietary data is secure and available as opposed to just available. Slashdot commenters await you.
"Microsoft's cloud storage platform Azure received their first government certification yesterday, less than 24 hours before the official shutdown. The certification, which grants Azure 'Provisional Authority to Operate,' should make it easier for Microsoft to compete with rivals like IBM and Amazon Web Services for government contracts. The certification signifies that the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and US General Services Administration have all deemed Azure safe from external hackers. Government cloud contracts are a lucrative market, as seen by Amazon's recent tussle with IBM over a $600M contract for a private CIA cloud."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- A Closer Look at AMD's Mantle API @ Hardware Canucks
- Interview with AMD's Matt Skynner about Mantle and new Radeon cards @ Hardware.info
- BlackBerry ripped itself apart wooing CIOs AND iPhone fanbois - insiders @ The Register
- iPhone and iPad users discover an iMessage bug in iOS 7 @ The Inquirer
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 30, 2013 - 06:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: graphics drivers, catalyst 13.10, beta, windows, linux
- Includes 32-bit single GPU and CrossFire game profile for Battlefield 4
- Total War: Rome 2 CrossFire profile update
- CrossFire frame pacing improvements for CPU-bound applications
- Resolves image corruption seen in Autodesk Investor 2014
- Resolves intermittent black screen when resuming from a S3/S4 sleep state if the display is unplugged during the sleep state on systems supporting AMD Enduro Technology
- Updated AMD Enduro Technology application profiles
o Profile highlights:
- Total War: Rome 2
- Battlefield 4
- Saints Row 4
- Splinter Cell Blacklist
- FIFA 14
Resolved issue highlights:
- System hang up when startx after setting up an Eyefinity desktop.
- Permission issue with procfs on kernel 3.10
- System hang observed while running disaster stress test on Ubuntu 12.10
- Hang is observed when running Unigine on Linux
- AC/DC switching is not automatically detected
- Laptop backlight adjustment is broken
- Glxtest failures observed in log file with forcing on Anti-Aliasing
- Cairo-dock is broken
- Severe desktop corruption is observed when enabled compiz in certain cases
- glClientWaitSync is waiting even when timeout is 0
- C4Engine get corruption with GL_ARB_texture_array enabled
Subject: Systems | September 30, 2013 - 03:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: overclocking, nuc, Intel, d54250wyk
Perhaps your first thought upon seeing the new Haswell based NUC was something other than how to overclock it but when Legit Reviews got their hands on the D54250WYK they went straight to the BIOS to see what they could get out of this tiny system. Intel's Visual BIOS made it a snap with their Performance Dashboard page that allows you access to all the usual frequencies you need. Along the way they investigated RAM compatibility, both speed and size, but in the end they succeeded in getting 1866MHz RAM running full speed.
"We’ve spent pretty much all our free time this week using the Intel NUC Kit D54250WYK and if you couldn’t tell from our review, we love the new design and the Intel 4th Generation Core i5-4250U Haswell processor that powers it. In our review we showed you the general performance of the system running at stock speeds. The one question that we didn’t answer at that time is how it performs when overclocked. There aren’t too many things that you can overclock on the NUC since the CPU multiplier and bus speeds are locked down, but we can overclock the DDR3 memory. In the past overclocking the memory clock frequency has yielded some pretty good results for memory bandwidth limited applications and gaming benchmarks. Read on to see how the Intel NUC Kit D54250WYK performs with 1866MHz memory!"
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Intel NUC Kit D54250WYK Review @ Legit Reviews
- HP Envy Rove 20 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Shuttle Fanless Slim-PC DS47 @ techPowerUp
- MESH Elite G4 760SLi @ Kitguru
- 8Pack Releases Ultra High End Systems Range with OverclockersUK @ Kitguru
- CyberPower PC Zeus EVO Lightning 2000 SE System Review @ Ninjalane
- Acer Aspire AZ3-605-UR23 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Gigabyte Brix XM11-3337 @ Legion Hardware
Subject: General Tech | September 30, 2013 - 03:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, gaming headset, ozone, rage 7Hx 7.1, surround sound
The Ozone Rage 7HX has two 40mm drivers with a frequency response range of 20 to 20kHz and offers virtual 7.1 surround as opposed to covering your head in multiple speakers. That certainly helps with the weight but some purists are not satisfied with virtual surround on headsets while many gamers just want to hear someone sneaking up behind them. Funky Kit did like the virtual surround when gaming but also took advantage of the ability to turn off the virtual surround when listening to music or videos. Check out their review here.
"First I want to thank Ozone Gaming Gear for sending me this awesome Rage 7Hx 7.1 Surround headset. Its a 7.1 surround headset with a volume control module, it has a detachable microphone what i find very nice, sometimes the mic is just sitting in your way if you are not talking to anyone. And like the title said this is the White version of the Rage 7HX, there is also a Black one available."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cooler Master CM Storm Pulse-R Aluminum Gaming Headset @ eTeknix
- Tesoro Kuven 7.1 Virtual Surround Gaming Headset @ NikKTech
- TDK STi710 High-Fidelity Headphones With iPhone Control @ NikKTech
- SteelSeries Siberia V2 HyperX Edition Gaming Headset @ Funky Kit
- OZONE Oxygen In-Ear ProGaming Headset @ NikKTech
- Tt eSPORTS CRONOS Gaming Headset Review @ Techgage
- Astro A50 Multi-Format Wireless Gaming Headset @ eTeknix
- Gamester Gear Cruiser P3210 Gaming Headset Review @HiTech Legion
- Turtle Beach Ear Force PX22 Headset @ eTeknix
- SteelSeries Siberia v2 vs. TteSports Dracco Captain Headset @ Legion Hardware
- Five Of The Best PC Headsets Available For Under 100 Pounds @ eTeknix
- Panasonic SC-NT10 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Antec SP1 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker @ Funky Kit
- Jabra STONE3 Bluetooth Headset @ NikKTech
- Bitmore Universal Bluetooth Wireless Audio Adapter @ Benchmark Reviews
- iCirround AirMedia @ Funky Kit
- Gear4 StreetParty 5 Portable Speakers / iPod/iPhone Dock @ Kitguru
- 9 computer speakers tested: with or without subwoofer? @ Hardware.info
- ASUS Xonar Essence STU DAC/Amp @ techPowerUp
Subject: General Tech | September 30, 2013 - 02:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: steam, SteamOS
The Tech Report got to thinking about the future of the Steam Machine and how likely it is to be more like a line of PCs than a single console. While some are currently awaiting a response to their request to participate in the beta, TR is already looking to the future of the Steam Box. With the open source SteamOS and Steam's vast knowledge of the hardware people use in their gaming machines TR envisions a line of Steam Machines from a lower end model for light gaming on a TV all the way up to high end versions that will sport the latest and greatest hardware. Can Valve be as successful at selling pre-built machines as it is at selling hats?
"In his latest blog post, TR's Geoff Gasior gets all worked up about Valve's upcoming Steam machines and explains why they're another example of the company playing to the strengths of the PC."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- How To Build Your Virtualized Datacenter Using Open Source, Linux, KVM and Xen, Part 1 @ Linux.com
- SIM card hacker: Bug is either 'a backdoor, gross negligence, or both' @ The Register
- Intel delays consumer TV box yet again – report @ The Register
- Hacking a flatbed scanner to scan very large documents @ Hack a Day
- Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch @ The Inqurier
- How LucasArts Fell Apart @ Slashdot
- Google turns 15 and updates its search algorithm with Hummingbird @ The Inquirer
- Apple: Now that you've updated to iOS 7... YOU CAN NEVER GO BACK @ The Register
- (Getting Out from) Under the Surface @ Techgage
- Nokia Lumia 1020 41 Megapixel Camera Phone Review @ Legit Reviews
- PC sales shrank less than expected during back-to-school 2013 @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | September 30, 2013 - 02:03 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Dell's brand new E2414H, a 1080p 24" LED backlit display is on special today, rated at a 5ms average response time making it decent for gaming. It is perhaps not the best deal to pick one up alone as your purchase comes with a $100 Dell gift card. Instead why not think of it as buy two and get one almost free and now you've got triple monitors to play on!
- Dell E2414H 24" 1080p LED-backlit LCD Monitor + Free $100 Gift Card for $230.99 with free shipping(normally $330.99).
- Canon EOS 60D 18MP DSLR Camera w/ 18-135mm Lens for $899.00 (normally $999.99).
- Samsung HW-F450 2.1 Channel 280-Watt Soundbar for $247.99 with free shipping(normally $349.99)
- Logitech G27 Racing Wheel [PS3/PC] for $235.99 with free shipping(normally $259.99).
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 30, 2013 - 10:30 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: msi, gp70, gp60, gaming notebook
Today, MSI unveiled its new GP series of notebooks aimed at business professionals that want a work machine that can also handle multimedia and gaming workloads. Specifically, MSI is launching one 17" GP70 and two 16" GP60 notebook SKUs which vary slightly in terms of storage, screen resolution, and processor (and the GP70 being physically larger). The new GP series notebooks are available now at various online and brick-and-mortar retailers with a starting MSRP of $899.99.
MSI's GP70 gaming/professional laptop.
The GP series laptops have Intel Haswell processors, NVIDIA GT740M graphics, 8GB of DDR3 memory, and up to 750GB (GP60) or 1TB (GP70) of mechanical hard drive storage options. Further, all GP series notebooks are equipped with 720p webcams, SteelSeries gaming keyboards, multi-touch trackpads, and gold plated audio jacks backed by a headphone amplifier. IO on the various GP SKUs includes two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, two audio jacks, one Gigabit Ethernet LAN jack, one SD (XC/HC) card slot, and HDMI video outputs. The laptops all have 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless radios.
The MSI GP60 laptop.
At the low end is the MSI GP60 2OD-052US which includes an Intel i5-4200M CPU, up to 750GB of HDD storage, and a 15.6" display with a resolution of 1366x768. The MSI GP60 2OD-072US bumps the specifications up a bit to an Intel i7-4700MQ processor and a non reflective 1080p 15.6" display. Meanwhile, the MSI GP70 offers up to 1TB of HDD storage but has a 17.3" anti-glare display with a resolution of 1600x900. The laptops range from 5.29 to 5.95 pounds.
The following chart (courtesy of MSI) breaks down the individual SKUs in more detail.
The MSI GP series is available now with starting MSRPs of $899.99 (GP60 with i5), $1,049.99 (GP60 with i7), and $949.99 (GP70) respectively. It is nice to see more notebooks coming out with dedicated graphics, especially in the business sector where laptops tend to be less 'flashy'.
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Systems | September 27, 2013 - 02:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: SteamOS, Steam Controller, reverse-consolitis
Steam Controller is the third, and final, announcement in the Steam Hardware event. Sure, the peripheral looks weird. It looks very weird. The first thing(s?) you will notice, and likely the driving influence for the iconography, is... or are... the touch pads which replace the expected thumbsticks. The second thing you will notice is the "high resolution" (no specific resolution or dimension was provided) touchscreen.
The most defining aspect of the controllers, as previously stated, is its pair of trackpads. This input method might actually stand the chance of precise controls while maintaining comfort for a couch. To start, I will quote Valve:
In addition, games like first-person shooters that are designed around precise aiming within a large visual field now benefit from the trackpads’ high resolution and absolute position control.
The emphasis was placed by me.
Last year, almost to the date, I published an editorial, "Is the Gamepad Really Designed for Gaming?" In it, I analyzed console controllers from an engineering standpoint. I blamed velocity-based joystick control for the need to enable auto-aim on console titles. Quoting myself, which feels a little weird to be entirely honest:
Analog sticks are a velocity-oriented control scheme where the mouse is a relative position-oriented control scheme. When you move a joystick around you do not move the pointer to a target rather you make it travel at some speed in the direction of the target. With a mouse you just need to move it the required distance and stop. It is easier to develop a sensitivity to how far you need to pull a mouse to travel to the target than a sensitivity to how long to hold a joystick in a given direction to reach a target. Joysticks are heavily reliant on our mental clocks and eye coordination.
Each trackpad can also be clicked, like the thumbsticks of current controllers just probably more comfortably, to provide extra functionality. From a User Experience (UX) standpoint, I can envision a first-person shooter which emulates a (velocity-based) joystick when the right trackpad is pressed (assuming it is very light to press and comfortably to rub your thumb against while pressing) but switches to position-based when touched but not pressed.
The implication is quick rotation when firing from the hip, but positionally-based targeting when precision is required. Maybe other methods will come up too? I find the technology particularly exciting because Valve, clearly, designed it with the understanding of position-based versus velocity-based control. This challenge you rarely hear discussed.
The touchscreen is also a large clickable surface. The controller recognizes touch input and overlays the contents of the screen atop the user's screen but it will not commit the action until the touchpad is pressed. This is designed so the gamer will not need to look at their controller to see what action they are performing.
Personally, I hope this is developer-accessible. Some games, as the WiiU suggests, can benefit from hiding information.
Haptic feedback also ties into the trackpads. Their intent is to provide sensations to the thumbs and compensate for loss of mechanical sensation with thumbsticks. Since they are in there, Valve decided to offer a large, programmable, data channel to very precisely control the effect.
They specifically mention the ability to accept audio waveforms to function as speakers "as a parlour trick".
The devices will be beta tested, via the Steam Machine quest, but without wireless or touchscreen support. Instead of a touchscreen, the controller will contain a four-quadrant grid of buttons mapped to commands.
Thus wraps up the three-pronged announcement. Valve directs interested users to their Steam Universe group for further discussion.
Subject: General Tech | September 27, 2013 - 02:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
If you need a tablet that can do a bit more than an Android or eReader you can pick up Dell's 10" Windows 8 tablet. The 1366 x 768 IPS display is made of Gorilla Glass and for communications it features both a 720p front facing webcam and a 8MP rear camera. Powered by an Atom Z2760 it may not be the fastest machine out there but with the optional 64GB SSD upgrade it will certainly perform well for a tablet.
- Dell Latitude 10 32GB Windows 8 Tablet for $399.00 with free shipping(normally $570.00).
- Toshiba Satellite C855-S5346 15.6" Dual-Core Laptop for $299.99 (normally $399.99).
- ony 10.1" Xperia Tablet Z 16GB w/Free Headphones ($40 value) for $499.99 with free shipping
- SanDisk Ultra Plus 256GB 2.5" Laptop SSD for $174.00 with free shipping(normally $219.00 - use coupon code: DIG5).
- Seagate Backup Plus 2TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive for $89.99 only (normally $129.99)
- Olympus SP-810UZ 14MP Digital Camera w/ 36x Zoom for $149.99 with free shipping. (normally $129.99)
Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2013 - 05:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, coolermaster, CM Storm, Havok, quickfire xt, gaming mouse, mechanical keyboard
Up for review at Overclockers Club is a pair of CM Storm peripherals, the Havok gaming mouse and the Quckfire XT mechanical keyboard. Their review unit had Cherry Blue switches but you can choose your favourite Cherry switch when you order the keyboard. For those who prefer a minimalistic looking keyboard with a lot of hidden features this is a great choice. The Havoc gaming mouse is also fairly plain looking and also hides a variety of features. This model is definitely a right handed mouse and best avoided by those with tiny hands but for right handed folks who like to have a hand full of mouse the Havoc could be the peripheral you are looking for.
"Overall I really enjoyed the CM Havoc gaming mouse. I usually don't go for the fat mice, but this is one you can definitely be a chubby chaser for and still be thought of as okay. It is definitely set to fancy those with a palm grip and despite having small hands there's not too much there. It is built nice and sturdy and even some rage smashes of the mouse have not shown any instant signs of loss. The little bit of lighting really adds to the mouse in my opinion; for some reason I fall into the category of loving a little bit of customization through a little bit of lighting on my peripherals. The lighting is subtle enough and you can turn it off completely without it looking like it is broken. I didn’t like that I couldn’t have my full RGB spectrum, but I can settle with the standard options provided. The mouse glides quite well even on the cheapest of mouse pads and is great for many hours of game play, work, and whatever else you use your mouse for. It's just a nice simple connection between you and your machine."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Gigabyte Force K7 Stealth Gaming Keyboard @ eTeknix
- CM Storm Mech Gaming Keyboard @ Kitguru
- eSPORTS MEKA G-Unit Gaming Keyboard @ Modders-Inc
- Corsair Vengeance K70 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ Legit Reviews
- GAMDIAS HERMES GKB2010 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- SteelSeries Apex Gaming Keyboard Review @ Madshrimps
- CM Storm QuickFire XT (Cherry MX Blue) Gaming Keyboard Review @HiTech Legion
- Logitech G602 Wireless Gaming Mouse @ NikKTech
- Tesoro Colada Mechanical Keyboard @ Rbmods
- Roccat Ryos MK Pro Keyboard @ Kitguru
- Mionix Avior 8200 Laser Gaming Mouse @ NikKTech
- CM Storm Quickfire XT Mechanical Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- Cooler Master CM Storm Havoc Gaming Mouse Review @ Legit Reviews
- TteSports Theron Infrared Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
- Mionix AVIOR 8200 @ techPowerUp
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | September 26, 2013 - 05:25 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Rock, Paper, Firefox OS, APC
Update: (9/28/2013) APC responded to my email and confirmed all models support up to 32GB microSD cards (so, microSD or microSDHC).
Firefox OS is an operating system which boots into a web standards rendering engine. All applications and user interface elements are essentially web sites, often hosted by the device but could obviously have online components as the creator desires, web standards making it easier to port and manage code.
Hardware designers are continuing to adopt the platform.
APC, an initiative of VIA Technologies, got our attention over a year ago when they launched their smaller-than-a-banana Android desktop. It was an interesting design which came out at roughly the same time as the Raspberry Pi. I cannot tell whether that boost or harmed consumer interest.
Either way, the APC has announced two successors: The APC Paper and the APC Rock. Both devices dropped Android (side note: the $50 APC 8750 based on Android 2.3 is apparently still available) replacing it, instead, with Firefox OS. Both devices are in the Neo-ITX form factor although that should not matter too much, for Paper, as it includes a case.
Paper covers Rock, get it?
The raw specifications are as follows:
- SoC: VIA ARM Cortex-A9 @ 800 MHz
- GPU: Built in 2D/3D up to 720p
- Memory: 512MB DDR3
- Storage: 4GB NAND Flash
Expandable Storage: microSD (maximum 32GB)
- Update: APC confirmed all models support up to 32GB, which is microSDHC
- I/O: HDMI, VGA (Rock-only), 2x USB 2.0, MicroUSB, 3.5mm Headphone/Mic
This build of Firefox OS contains mouse and keyboard support. If you wish to install your own operating system, while you are on your own, the kernel and bootloader are available on the APC website and the hardware is unlocked. They also provide access to the ARM debug headers for the real developer types.
If you are one of these developer types, would you consider fixing a known issue? APC will donate free devices to users who submit fixes for specially tagged bugs on their Github repo. Think of it like investing time fixing a product which, if you would have bought it, probably would have crushed the bug anyway.
It would have been nice to see a bump in processor performance and graphics functionality, and perhaps more than 512 MB of RAM, although it should be sufficient for light web browsing. As a developer of GPU-intensive web applications, which I expect to have an article on soon, I am not sure how much that colors my view of these devices. Then again, we are also talking about devices in the Roku price-point, so (apart from sticking with 720p... come on now) I may not have a valid complaint.
Both devices are available now, in limited quantities, through the manufacturer website. The Paper carries a price tag of $99 USD while the Rock is slightly cheaper at $79 USD.
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